Finding the perfect hallway ideas for your home isn't always easy, but it should be.
Whether its the first space any guest sees when they enter the house, or a circulation zone between rooms, all the entryways and hallways in your home demand serious design attention.
Besides often being overlooked, hallways are often cursed with limited light and no natural focal point. This means you'll need some solid interiors know-how to transform them into artful spaces.
As well as looking inviting in its own right, an entryway or hallway should set the tone for the rest of your home – and should be considered alongside front porch ideas to ensure a coordinated feel.
From interior details to inventive suggestions for storage, these design-led ideas for entrances, hallways and landings will inspire your scheme.
When decorating our homes, it’s all too easy to forget the hallway and focus on living room ideas or kitchen decor; after all, it’s not as if we spend much time in an entryway.
But there are so many reasons for making the effort – it’s the first thing that family and friends see when they come round, and the right hallway ideas can make you feel relaxed and happy after a hard day.
Whether you go for something fun and colorful or calm and soothing, here are some stylish hallway ideas to get you started.
1. Make a design statement with your console table
A hallway is too small a space to be filled with pieces to rival your living room furniture ideas – so make what you do include really count in the design stakes.
A console table can not only work as a landing pad for keys, wallets and post, but as a stylish piece to set the tone for the house’s decor – and will fit in with narrow hallway ideas too.
In this entryway in an apartment owned and designed by furniture expert Christine Retlev, an undulating floating table by French sculptor Jacques Jarrige is styled with rust colored fabric by Muriel Brandolini and vintage brass sconces.
2. Take a modern approach to checkered flooring
Checkered flooring has an interior design history that stretches back not hundreds, but thousands of years. Its place in foyers and entrance hallways is particularly storied – if planning on using it to help your home make a grand entrance, think about how you can make it modern.
In this Bel Air home with interiors by Evens Architects and Windsor Smith, the traditional black and white pattern is swapped for a gray and white design, giving a light and airy feel to the space. Alternatively, opt for marble slabs with speckled patterns for added interest.
3. Swap carpet for a smart runner
A carpet is impractical in a hallway or entryway, but a stone or wooden floor can feel unwelcoming. The perfect compromise? A smart runner that can add both color and pattern, lead the eye up and down the space, and be taken up easily for cleaning is ideal.
Note the books and pictures in this space – even small hallway ideas can be furnished to feel like a room, not a thoroughfare, to make them feel far more welcoming.
4. Use white to make a low ceiling feel taller
Entryways come in all shapes and sizes, and depending on the era of the property, can have low ceilings. White is generally the go-to in this situation as it will instantly add brightness, but if you prefer more subtle yet still uplifting hallway paint ideas then consider Dimpse by Farrow & Ball, which has been used here.
It’s a delicate gray that has elegance, and won’t be as harsh as a brilliant white. Be consistent and use it for walls and woodwork; that way you’ll achieve an all round encompassing feel.
5. Add a pop of color for a quick fix
This farmhouse foyer has been given a pop of brightening color with a coral bench and multi-color cushions.
'Your entryway serves as the introduction to your home and the wonderful characters that reside within,' says Mary Maloney, owner and designer at Bees Knees Interior Design Studio.
'Your entry should suit the architecture of your home, along with the functional needs. The church pew in this entry holds sentimental value, along with a bit of family history, all of which suits this reproduction style colonial perfectly.
'Details count: the bright color and fabric add to the charm and welcome all who enter!'
6. Create a space for art
In a narrow hallway with very little space for furniture or bulky decor, think about how you can make an impact with without straying more than an inch from the wall by using wall decor ideas.
In this Lake Michigan home by M. Lavender Interiors, a small arched hall is turned into a space inspired by the owners’ travels in Africa. The walls are painted in Farrow & Ball's Sudbury Yellow to echo the color of the grasses in the Serengeti, while one is bedecked by framed photographs they took on a trip there to create a stunning gallery wall effect.
7. Enhance a sense of length with horizontal lines
It’s not unusual to want to make a small hallway space feel bigger. This corridor, in a house with interiors designed by Marlaina Teich, shows not only how lighter colors are a great way to help make the space feel brighter, but that a little optical illusion goes a long way.
White shiplap arranged in horizontal lines creates a sense of distance between one end of the hallway and the other, as they disappear towards a vanishing point. This makes the space feel both longer and grander.
8. Choose paint with a soft sheen to reflect light
Note the paint finish in this stunning gray hallway – it has a soft sheen, specifically chosen to reflect light and to create a smart look in this roomy entryway. This trick, though, will also work really well in smaller hallways or those starved of natural daylight, enhancing light levels and make the space feel larger.
'Don't forget about the entry walls. Sometimes even after furniture and art an entryway can feel incomplete, so your entry may be calling for wallpaper or architectural wall panelling ideas,' says Etch Design Group's principal interior designer, Stephanie Lindsey.
'We provided 2D elevation drawings for the paneling design. A classic traditional element, the wall paneling created sophistication at the entrance to the house but we painted it gray to modernize it.'
9. Go for a maximalist wallpaper
A hallway is the perfect setting to embrace your love of wallpaper. If you are looking for inspiring hallway wallpaper ideas, illustrative designs are eye-catching and create a fabulous welcome for your visitors.
It can really frame an entrance to another room too, which can look quite spectacular: it’s worth using the same colors within the room you can see in this case so the look is cohesive, and consider using the same floor so there’s flow from one space to the next.
To add interest to a long, narrow hallway, create a focal point at the far end by using accent wall ideas, such as a panel of feature wallpaper or a statement artwork. ‘This will lead the eye down the length of the space and makes a confident statement,’ explains Claire Vallis.
In this scheme, we celebrate the resurgence of rich, bold prints by showing them off in a neutral, pared-back setting for an easy-to-live-with look. For added cohesion match wallpaper to window dressing ideas, like the coordinated blinds here.
10. Decorate with a warm tone for a welcoming feel
Hallways need to feel welcoming – not just for visitors but for when you come home, too. So, using even a splash of a sunny shade can be vital for creating an inviting atmosphere, especially if your space is poorly lit by natural daylight or north-facing.
A focal point in a hallway is always a win, too; here the entry table decor ideas attract attention. Tables can also accumulate clutter, though, so be sure to provide a storage option within a table such as this, or nearby.
11. Go for a dazzling woodwork display
For sheer fun, match your skirtings to a color from your favorite wallpaper ideas, and don’t be afraid to go bright like in this exquisite hallway from Little Greene. Featuring the striking Loriini Dorian wallpaper, the reasonably traditional design – albeit in bright colorways – contrasts against the ultra modern paint shade, Trumpet (196).
It’s not for the faint of heart admittedly, but if your hallway is light and bright it can take it. Keep the rest of the scheme lower key and let the walls and paintwork do the talking.
12. Introduce subtle pattern
Plain walls give you room to be creative; they’re rather like a blank canvas on which you can stamp your mark. If you love white, one single color, or are looking for cottage hallway ideas, then give your hallway ideas a little extra interest with a spot of pattern.
Runners are excellent for this as Tasha Green, director of Weaver Green explains: ‘Runners allow you to instantly update and change the feel of a hallway. A statement runner can be the main design feature from which you complement other interior elements in your entrance. For example, a simple herringbone helps to create a classic timeless look, from which you can add vibrant or strong patterns and prints with other accessories.’
13. Enhance storage potential
It’s the first place anyone sees when they arrive at your home, but a hallway is also a magnet for everyone’s stuff. Tidy it up with a few key buys and keep the everyday essentials close at hand.
Most entryways are narrow, so keep all of your hallway storage ideas along one run of wall. A high peg rail can be home to a variety of items, and keeps items off surfaces. Or, if space allow, a row of built-in cabinetry is a neat and tidy alternative.
14. Create the right mood with lighting
If you are planning a scheme with no, or few, windows, hallway lighting ideas are critical.
Try to include ambient or background lighting, tasking lighting for areas such as a post table, and accent lighting to pick out features, such as a mirror or doorway.
This hall includes LED spotlights, a table lamp and fireplace, for good measure.
15. Create a focal point with antiques
If your entrance is on the larger side, it’s a good idea to create a design statement so the space doesn’t feel too cavernous.
A beautiful antique table will do the trick; round is always best so you glide around it rather than getting caught on corners. Use it to display fresh blooms and groups of trinkets.
The color you choose is also important, as Henriette von Stockhausen, creative director at VSP Interiors, says:
‘I love how this color, Worsted by Farrow & Ball, together with the warm tones of the antiques and the beautiful damask print by Pierre Frey makes this room cozy and welcoming.’
16. Choose a classic look that never dates
A classic that never dates, a monochromatic scheme is bold and beautiful. Irene Gunter, founder of London based design studio Gunter & Co, explains her design choices with this hallway:
‘In areas that tend to be dark, like a narrow hallway, a reflective floor combined with large wall mirrors will bounce the light around. A design in classic black and white marble is not only timeless, but also makes the hallway feel less long and narrow.
'A patterned floor, when designed carefully, is the best way of making a room seem bigger. A good patterned floor doesn’t show where each tile starts or stops, which gives a very homogenous effect, tricking the eye into making the space feel bigger.’
17. For dramatic effect choose two dark shades
If your hallway is large enough, you can get away with painting a wall with two dark and vibrant shades together. Olive green is on a roll currently, and Farrow & Ball’s version, Bancha No.298, looks rather fabulous with fresh white woodwork and their Studio Green painted on the panelling of the stairs.
The neutral runner up the stairs creates a striking contrast right in the middle of the two shades, an intentional feature that’s worth copying.
18. Never under-estimate the power of a mirror
The larger the mirror, the more light you can bounce about, and a floor standing design can easily be propped up against a wall. It will also be an impressive focal point for your hallway ideas.
‘Mirrors are interior designers’ magic tool for creating captivating optical illusions,’ says Lou Graham, co-founder of Graham & Green.
‘They create the illusion of more space, of brightening up dark corners, of bouncing color from one side of the room to the other. They can even imitate doorways, like portals into other worlds.
'Hallways can be elongated into endless pathways with elegant floor length mirrors, and blue skies can be brought indoors with window-like wall mirrors.’
What is the best color to paint a hallway?
Remember that lighter colors give the appearance of more space, while darker tones will bring the room in, resulting in a cozier, more intimate feeling.
Similarly, hanging wallpaper with a large motif will introduce a sense of drama, while a smaller design will help to make the hallway appear more spacious.
With no, or few, windows, hall lighting is critical. As with most schemes, the key is to layer different sources – this includes ambient lighting, task lighting and accent lighting to pick out your hallway's features, such as a mirror or doorway.
How do you make a hallway more interesting?
Whether it’s the first space your guests see or a route between rooms, a hallway merits serious design attention.
Winning schemes pay attention to wall and floor treatments, mood, and storage – whether concealed or statement, fit plenty, particularly focusing on hallway shoe storage solutions, to ensure that it doesn’t become a glorified dumping ground.
The hallway is usually the first area of your home that visitors encounter and, as such, should be a reflection of your taste and personality. You can go flamboyant or pared back: nothing is off limits as long as the scheme is in tune with the rest of your home and not a one-off statement that competes with other rooms.
Jennifer is the Digital Editor at Homes & Gardens. Having worked in the interiors industry for a number of years, spanning many publications, she now hones her digital prowess on the 'best interiors website' in the world. Multi-skilled, Jennifer has worked in PR and marketing, and the occasional dabble in the social media, commercial and e-commerce space.
Over the years, she has written about every area of the home, from compiling design houses from some of the best interior designers in the world to sourcing celebrity homes, reviewing appliances and even the odd news story or two.
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